Interview with

Christian Greciano

Name: Christian Greciano

Nationality: Spanish

Where do you live? Munich, Germany

Languages: Spanish, English, Greek, German, French, Finnish, Japanese

1. What’s your story? How did you get into all these languages?

I  grew up bilingual. At age 12 I started learning extra languages.  There’s a public institution in Spain called “Escuela Oficial de  Idiomas” (Official Language School), which offers language courses at a  very cheap price. For the following 10 years, I would spend all my  evenings during the week at the EOI, which would become my second home.  To be honest most of the time the classes were quite boring, but I  enjoyed learning languages nonetheless and I passed the exams without  much effort, so I kept going. At age 21 I decided to be a missionary for  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as LDS  Church or Mormon Church), and I was assigned to serve in Greece and  Cyprus. That was my first serious experience abroad, and I had to learn a  language I didn’t know – Greek – from zero. It was an amazing time  where I put to use several of the languages I had learned. After my  2-year mission I have moved around various countries and cities  (Darmstadt, Tokyo, Stuttgart, Munich…), never staying anywhere longer  than a year. It has been a blast improving my language skills and to  interact with so many other nationalities and cultures. I might settle  down in the future somewhere, but at the moment I’m quite the nomad.

2. Which language(s) do you wish you could spend more time practising?

Japanese  and Finnish, definitely. I would love to be very fluent in those  languages. It is in my plans for the future to live for a while in Japan  and Finland, so hopefully I can fulfil my desire.

3. What are some languages you’d like to learn in the future?

After  improving the languages I already have some knowledge in but in which  I’m still not fluent enough, there are indeed some other languages I  would not mind learning. The list includes Korean, Hebrew, Russian,  Swedish and Esperanto, among others.

4. So let’s be honest, what’s the sexiest language?

French  is probably the language I dislike the most of the ones I know. Or  better said, the language I like the least. However, I find French women  quite attractive in general! It’s one of those life ironies…

5. What’s the greatest pleasure you get from speaking so many languages?

I  love getting mind-blown when a language introduces a new way of  expressing a concept or idea that I didn’t know about. Or, better yet,  when it introduces completely new concepts or ideas. You really  understand why certain people or culture think the way they do, since  language indeed shapes and influences your way of thinking and your  personality. Other than that, most people around the world are happy to  see that you are making an effort to learn their language, especially if  it’s a difficult and/or a not so common language, and they really  appreciate your endeavor.

6. Some people say the world is really just going to have a few languages left in a 100 years, do you think this is really true?

Some  languages will die out, for sure, that has always happened.  Globalization also means that certain languages will be even more  important than they are now, and that these languages will be easier to  learn than ever before. However, there should still be a wide variety of  languages for years and years to come. Unless, of course, a worldwide  system is established where less popular languages are prohibited. It  would be scary to live in George Orwell’s 1984 dystopian world, where  the authorities even develop and push a new language called Newspeak - a  harsh simplification of the English language, with the goal to make the  populace dumber and dumber.

7. What is your message to young (and not so young) people out there who are interested in studying multiple languages?

Do  it. Start NOW. The best way to learn a language is speaking it, and  that’s why living in a country where it is spoken is so effective: you  are forced to speak the language more frequently. My recommendation is  to focus on one language at a time. Once you have reached your desired  level in that language, move on to the next. Learning several languages  at the same time can be messy, I’ve done that myself with varying  degrees of success. But I really became fluent in those languages once I  focused on them individually and lived in the country.

The International Association of Hyperpolyglots - HYPIA. (c) 2020

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